I experienced a heartbreak this year. It caught me off guard, bowled me over as if I were some sort of precious dandelion or something. What’s worse, because of my damn inherent want-to-see-the-good-in-everyone nature, it became a long and excruciating lesson in understanding myself, testing my boundaries, and thankfully as a result, finding my true power and strength. I can, thank God, report that I came out the other end stronger and wiser, more able to locate my true north.
I don’t usually talk about this kind of thing on the internet. I understand there’s a fine line between art, activism, business, and privacy. I think that, not only is it extremely personal, it sometimes isn’t just about me, and I want to respect everyone’s privacy and their right to make mistakes. And after all, I’m just a straight, single, independent white feminist, with no kids, who is about to turn thirty-five. Sometimes I feel like I have a lot to say, but sometimes I feel like who am I to tell anyone anything. I usually choose to contribute art, kind words, and pretty things, because there can never be too much beauty in the world.
I was talking to a friend about this idea of “sharing” on the internet, and she brought up the idea that perhaps it’s easier— or more appropriate— to share once the scar has formed. Any sooner, and it feels too vulnerable, too raw.
So maybe I’m writing because my scar has finally appeared. Maybe it’s because I need to process my emotions right now, and it’s time to share. And maybe what’s going on in the world is just too raw to address directly, and this is a result of that.
What I do know is this. Heartbreak is real. It kicks you in the pants in a way that you didn’t ever really know was possible. It sneaks up on you, too. You’re walking down the street, feeling like your normal self, and BAM. An image from the past or from your imagined future knocks you off your feet, and you can’t recover for hours.
But I also know this, too. Heartbreak doesn’t have to end us. It is shitty, no one is denying it. Do we wish it had never happened? Yes. Does our ego tell us it’s the absolute most unfair situation in the whole world, and how dare they not want to be with us? Absolutely. But what is the alternative? Hold on with dear life to something that isn’t there anymore? Pass the blame? Nope.
We move forward, one day at a time. We make our coffee in the morning and plot, knowing we haven’t yet achieved what we’re capable of. We move past those jerks from the past, knowing they are simply not worthy. We get back out there with more knowledge about what is acceptable behavior from someone else and what simply is NOT. And we speak up about it. We congratulate ourselves, and each other, when we take an opportunity to call someone out on their crappy behavior. I have never been more proud of myself than I was when I spoke my truth, out loud and passionately, despite the fact that my heart was being stomped on, and did not put up with behavior that was simply not good enough.
I feel like I was pretty close to finding my partner. But alas, no cigar. And I have had to accept that my world looks different than I wanted. So now what? Well, lord KNOWS I’ve still got some work to do. While It might take some more time— some might even say four years— it’s my responsibility to make sure that I don’t settle for any crap in the meantime.
It’s our responsibility to not settle for any crap in the meantime.